Assessment of occupational injuries and illnesses among health care workers in Jinja municipality, Uganda
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Introduction: Occupational injuries and work- related illnesses are a public health problem, estimated to kill more than 2.78 million people per year. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that about 4% of the world‟s annual GDP is lost as a consequence of occupational illnesses and accidents. These illnesses and injuries also have substantial economic and noneconomic effects on quality of life for example the physical and psychological functioning in everyday activities can be affected, self-esteem and self-confidence reduced, family relationships stressed and labor relations in workplaces may also be damaged. These injuries and illnesses are a serious threat to workers in almost all occupations worldwide with the mostly affected sector being the healthcare sector and social assistance industry sector. Objective: This study assessed the occupational health injuries and illnesses encountered by the HCWs in health centres IV, III and II in Jinja Municipal Council. Methodology: This was a cross-sectional study design that involved quantitative methods of data collection. Structured questionnaires with closed ended questions were used in obtaining the necessary information on the study variables. All health workers present at the health centers IV, III and II at the time of the study were included in the study. The data was captured in Stata software version 12.0 and analyzed using EPIDATA version 3.02 computer software. Results: In this study, 53.25% of the participant Health Care workers had experienced an Occupational health injury within the last twelve months, mostly sharp related injuries like pricks, cuts, and Needle Stick Injuries (NSI). The perceived associated factors were reported to be to lack of sufficient PPE (53.25%), uncooperative patients (14.29%) and Negligence of the HCWs (14.29%). Also, the most commonly encountered occupational illnesses was work related stress (61%). Conclusion: HCWs are at high risk of experiencing occupational injuries and illnesses at work. The overall annual prevalence of occupational injuries among the HCWs was observed to be high. The major perceived risk factor for this prevalence was reported to be lack of PPE. In addition, the safety practices of the HCWs were optimal. Interventions should be instituted in order to mitigate the hazards with focus on addressing PPE supply gaps and organizing more safety trainings to foster adherence to mitigation measures in place.